The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) today announced the extension of the naira cash swap programme by additional 10 days from January 31 2023 to February 10, 2023. The recent move by the CBN came after the meeting the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had with President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, his home town in Katsina State.

The CBN also granted an additional 7-day grace period beginning from February 10 has been given to allow Nigerians deposit their old naira notes at the CBN after the February deadline.

“We are happy so far; the exercise has achieved a success rate of 75 percent of the n2.7 trillion held outside the banking system. Nigerians n the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiatives, as well as the CBN senior staff nationwide sensitisation team exercise.

“Based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr President’s approval for the following: a 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023 to February 10, 2023; to allow for collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap n our rural communities after which all old notes outside the CBN lose their legal tender status.

“A 7-day grace period, beginning on February 10 to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its legal tender status,” CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said, earlier today.

The presidential candidates of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC) recently appealed to the CBN Governor to extend the deadline in order to ease the suffering of the people in the country.

Another subtle move for the CBN to extend the deadline was by Abdullahi Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State, northwest Nigeria, who canceled President Buhari’s visit to the state saying that the people of Kano were not in a good mood to receive the president due to the hardship in the state, especially the scarcity of new naira notes.

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The Arewa Consultative Forum also appealed for an extension so as to allow many northern rural dweller change their old notes.

Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria said the initial deadline of January 31 2023 was never realistic because most ATMs are still dispensing the old naira notes.

“The January 31st deadline for exchanging naira to the redesigned notes was never realistic and we can now see that. How can banks and ATMs still be dispensing the existing naira a few days to the deadline?

“Whatever the merits of this policy (and I supported it but made it clear three months ago, was too short a period to execute it), it seems to have left millions of Nigerians in an impossible situation. I really wonder how all this will pan out,” Moghalu said.

Reno Omokri, a PDP chieftain, while commending the CBN on the 10-day grace period suggested there should be no another extension after this window has closed.

“I commend the CBN for extending the deadline for exchange of old naira notes from January 31st to Feb 10th, a 10-day extension. This is commendable and will ease the pain of citizens. I however urge that after this, there should be no further extension,” Reno Omokri, said.